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Old 07-27-2015, 08:45 PM   #71
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I'm certainly not an electrical guy but after reading the above especially Brad's last post why not disconnect the coach batteries and start turning things on to see if anything is connected to the chassis battery that shouldn't be? Kind of what Brad said but maybe a more direct route.

Sorry, I guess Brad beat me to it while I was typing.
Dan, I've been stewing on the problem all day and it just sems more and more like the coach batteries aren't connected into the system like they should be. If they were being charged by the converter their voltage should be higher. Mike says they are 12.4 to 12.5 volts. That's just to low if they were connected to the converter.

Once Mike figures it out the answer will probably surprise all of us!
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:13 PM   #72
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Old isolator
Attachment 244029

New isolator
Attachment 244030

Center terminal on both is alternator, left terminal coach batteries, right terminal "to engine battery through Chevrolet harness" (quote from manual) at a glance, I thought the wire on the right terminal and the wire on the center terminal should be flip flopped but as you can see from the pictures I installed as per the old isolator.


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Identical Isolator wiring on my 310. I also was surprised to see the gauge of the alternator charging wire and the lack of size of the Motor Battery charging wire, but I did check all the voltages and it appears to be correct.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:18 PM   #73
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Brad I agree it's probably something stupid simple. As old as these rigs are and as many people have played with them over the years it could be anything.

On two occasions over the past several years I have had a dead chassis battery after being parked for a day or two. Something hung up but I have no idea what. Luckily what ever it was it hasn't happened in the last four or five years so I'm not losing sleep over it.

As to Mike's coach if the chassis battery is going down that fast I would think that after the coach batteries are disconnected, remove a clamp from the chassis battery and there should be a pretty good arc indicating something is drawing from that battery. I always refer to notes from Mr. Lucas regarding smoke and sparks.
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Old 07-28-2015, 04:58 AM   #74
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Identical Isolator wiring on my 310. I also was surprised to see the gauge of the alternator charging wire and the lack of size of the Motor Battery charging wire, but I did check all the voltages and it appears to be correct.
Glad you chimed in Peter because that wiring on the isolator was still bugging me. Like I said, at a glance the heavy gauge wire going to the ALT post looks like it should be on the chassis battery post and the smaller gauge wire on the chassis post looks like it should be on the ALT post. I double checked the manual and the drawing seemed to confirm the way its wired is correct, according to Airstream.

Mike
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:23 AM   #75
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Glad you chimed in Peter because that wiring on the isolator was still bugging me. Like I said, at a glance the heavy gauge wire going to the ALT post looks like it should be on the chassis battery post and the smaller gauge wire on the chassis post looks like it should be on the ALT post. I double checked the manual and the drawing seemed to confirm the way its wired is correct, according to Airstream.

Mike
I doubt that the isolator wiring is your problem, but it's easy to check anyway. Engine not running, no voltage on center post and different voltages on batt post 1 and 2
I suspect the reason why we see that #6 charge wire is the engine harness of the early 80's GM's had an internal wire connection of the red #10 coming from the alternator to another red #10 or 12 that would feed a junction block in the engine compartment for things like heater fan Motor.
Responsible RV builders would eliminate that internal connection in the GM wiring harness to allow for multiple batteries, controlled by the Isolator.
So they added that #6 charge wire, separated from the GM loop. The #10 chassis bat charge wire appears to only travel a very short distance
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Old 07-28-2015, 08:07 AM   #76
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Mike,

Haven't read the entire electrical saga but the wire from the isolator to the coach battery looks pretty light. It takes very little voltage drop to get the voltage at the battery below the threshold where the battery will accept a charge. You need to see better than 13 volts to accept a decent charge. Ideally about 14 for a good charge at the capacity of the alternator. A trickle charge at 12.8 volts won't do much good in a day of driving. I'd replace the wire with #8.

Check the voltage at the battery post. Not the connector. I've seen sneaky connections right up to the clamp on connector. The ground side can also be a culprit. Less then 1 volt can be the difference between charging an not. And that drop won't even create much heat.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:01 AM   #77
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Check the voltage at the battery post. Not the connector. I've seen sneaky connections right up to the clamp on connector. The ground side can also be a culprit. Less then 1 volt can be the difference between charging an not. And that drop won't even create much heat.
I literally spent days trying to figure out why a brand new chassis battery on the 310 read 12.6 volts but did not have enough power to open the steps or start the engine or anything. I cleaned the battery connection multiple times and all the other connections as well.

Turned out to be an internal problem within the clamp on battery cable connector at the battery. This was the style that uses a stud on the battery terminal and a ring connector on the cable. The problem was the stud was not making a good connection with the clamp it was embedded in. Surprised the heck out of me when I found that one.

Replaced the clamp and everything worked like a charm.
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:08 AM   #78
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Here is what I have this morning;
With the coach unplugged from shore power, chassis bat at 12.4, coach bat at 12.8.
Disconnected coach batteries and tried about every 12v device...nothing. Chassis disconnect was in the on position. Same results in off position. Left coach batteries disconnected and plugged coach into shore power, all 12volt devices work.
Disconnected chassis battery snd took it in to have it tested. Results 12.33v, 741cca out of 800cca. A little low on voltage but I believe the battery is fine.

Had the coach plugged in over night, usually keep it plugged in, 3 stage converter.
As I had said in an earlier post, to test the problem earlier in the week, I had a chassis battery reading of about 12.4. Unplugged the coach from shore power in the late afternoon and let the two ceiling exhaust fans run over night. Next morning the chassis battery was discharged to under 10v. Had a similar problem over the 4th, we were boondocking and monitoring the coach batteries, running the generator to recharge as necessary. After 3 days went to start the coach and the chassis battery was dead. Coach batteries were low in the morning after running a ceiling vent over night. But the chassis battery wouldnt even start the generator. Got a jump start from another vehicle and it started right up.

So, with the chassis disconnect turned off the chassis battery holds a good charge. We have put about 3000 miles on the coach traveling since getting it road worthy. So its gotten put to use without this electrical hitch. I went ahead and ordered a new solenoid.

What to try next? I have gone through and cleaned battery connections and ground to frame as I have worked on the coach. Scratching me head here

Mike
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:10 PM   #79
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Sounds like the coach battery system is fine.

And it is just the chassis/engine battery that discharges over night.

I would do two more tests on the coach battery system to see that it is working ok...

Standing batteries that are fully charged should read 12.5 across the posts and this is what you have.

Test 1: with shore power plugged in, you should see 13.6 - 13.65 across the posts on your coach battery, even if the battery is fully charged (higher like 14.5 if the converter is in full charge mode). You should see 12.5 across the posts on the chassis battery (since the converter should not be charging the chassis battery). Also verify that a 12v light in the coach is working.

Test 2: with shore power disconnected, you should see 12.5 across the coach battery and the chassis battery. Start engine. You should see 13.65 +/- or higher on your coach battery and the chassis battery since the alternator should be providing a charge...you may have to increase engine rpm above idle for alternator to provide a charge. Also verify that a 12v light in the coach is working.

The above should prove that the shorepower/converter sub-system is working...providing 13.65v to the 12v lights and to the coach battery. Will also prove that with shore power disconnected, the coach battery is providing 12.6v to the 12v lights. This will also prove that with shore power disconnected, the alternator/isolator is providing 13.65+v to both batteries.

In your last test I think you proved your chassis battery is not inadvertently connected to your coach battery system. The above test 1 should also help to prove this.

So sounds like the issue is your chassis battery discharges overnight. If something is draining your chassis battery, it should take more then one night to do so. Even though you have tested the chassis battery, do you have another engine battery you could swap in for a couple days to test with? When you had the chassis battery tested, did they do a "load" test on it?

What else is connected to the chassis battery that is draining it overnight? The wiring at my firewall is daunting and it would be very easy for something that should be connected to the coach battery bus on the firewall to get connected to the chassis battery bus on the firewall. My "bus"'s are simply stand alone posts that wires are connected to.

I have all 12v outlets at the dash as well as my stereo system connected to the coach battery system and not the chassis battery system. This is so these things do not discharge the chassis battery and leave me stranded. Make sure your refrigerator and CO detector are also connected to the coach battery and not the chassis battery.

Have you followed the chassis battery cable from the battery up to the starter (common setup at least on a gasser). Have you checked the connections at the starter? I was really surprised when I looked at mine!

Also check the battery cable feeding the starter on your GenSet. I have my GenSet connected to the chassis battery. Again this is to ensure I can start the GenSet if the coach batteries become discharged. Factory had run a long cable from the GenSet all the way to the starter and then of course there is a cable running from the chassis battery to the same starter post. I removed the GenSet cable from the starter and connected it much closer to the chassis battery.

Another test would be to disconnect the chassis battery cable going to the GenSet for a few days and see if your chassis battery still discharges overnight. If you have to disconnect this GenSet battery cable at a point where the cable will still be live, make sure it doesn't get grounded while disconnected.
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Old 07-28-2015, 12:25 PM   #80
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Dean's got it covered. There is definitely some obscure unknown load that is showing up on your chassis battery.

Are your steps wired to the chassis or coach battery?

What about your doorbell?

Not necessarily related to your problem but Dean brings up a good point about the genset being connected to the chassis battery and not the coach battery.

I'm not 100% certain but I seem to recall the genset on the 310 being connected to the coach battery. I'll have to look at that to verify.

Brad
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:12 PM   #81
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Performed Deans test 1 and 2 and everything checked good. Genset starts off the chassis battery. Still have the vacuum activated steps. I have not checked the wiring from the genset to the chassis battery though.

Just did an amp draw test on the chassis system at the battery. Looks like I have a .9 amp parasitic drain of some sort. So I need to track down whats up with that. Turned on some coach system devices while doing the amp draw test on the chassis battery and did NOT see an increase in the amps so it looks like the systems are indeed not commingling. Can you think of anything related to the generator that would cause a parasitic drain like that? Looks like Ill need to start pulling fuses one by one to at least track down the circuit thats causing the drain. Would a .9 amp drain pull down the chassis battery as far as it did over night?

Thank you guys so much for taking the time and consideration. I truly appreciate it, I hope you know.

Mike
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Old 07-28-2015, 01:46 PM   #82
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I can't image that .9 amp would drain the battery overnight. I still suspect a faulty battery.

A few years back, I put a new Costco battery in my F150. On my way to Idaho towing my 20' enclosed trailer, I thought the starter was going out. Classic symptoms of a bad starter, and of course it couldn't be the battery since it was only a few months old. After driving a few hours and stopping and then trying to start the engine again is when the problem showed up...starter cranking slow when hot.

When I got to my brother's house in Coeur d'Alene, I talked it over with my brother...he is a 30 year airframe and powerplant mechanic that could rebuild your Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines with his eyes closed. We agreed it was the starter. I called the local parts house and as we headed to the truck to go downtown, I said, lets just check the battery before we go.

Battery had a dead cell.

I replaced the battery with a another new Costco battery and the truck has been running great for a long time!

I never thought in a million years that a new battery might be bad!

Mike, I can't say that it is your battery, but as others have said here, we will all probably have a good chuckle when it turns out to be something very simple and yet not obvious.
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:19 PM   #83
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"Mike, I can't say that it is your battery, but as others have said here, we will all probably have a good chuckle when it turns out to be something very simple and yet not obvious."

I appreciate your optimism that I'LL FIND IT!!!!
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Old 07-28-2015, 02:21 PM   #84
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I've heard that some coaches have a safety solenoid valve for the propane that is hot wired.

Just an idea.

Mine was factory wired so the coach battery solenoid had to be powered to connect the solar panels to charge the battery. That little bastard got hot and drew about 2 amps. The solar puts out 3 amps on a good day.

The solenoid would drain the battery in 2 days.
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